On June 24, the county went online with a program that allows citizens to make payments for most waivable traffic citations via the Internet with a credit or debit card.
The site can be found at www.PayNCticket.org.
“I feel that this will benefit the citizens of Richmond County, and the people who are passing through the county,” Richmond County Clerk of Court Kathy Gainey said. “With the bypass, we are getting a lot of out-of-state people who are speeding on their way to the beach or some other place in North Carolina, and rather than having to return to Richmond County, they can pay their ticket on the Internet.”
From July 1 2008 to June 30, 2009, 2,875 tickets were paid in Richmond County that would fall under the parameters of the new system.
The online payment option is expected to decrease courthouse traffic and wait time for those who still need to pay their fees in person, while allowing for the quicker disposition of cases.
“It’s a good system for cases in which the person wishes to admit responsibility to the original charge,” Gainey said. “If a charge is modified by the district attorney, or someone appears before a judge in court this payment method cannot be used.”
Wait time to pay a ticket at the courthouse ranges anywhere from five to 30 minutes, she said.
Gainey went on to say that a major consideration of any traffic citation is the effect it will have on a driver’s license or insurance.
“I feel the best advice is to talk to an attorney, this can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run,” she said.
Even when an individual pays a ticket online, however, they are still responsible for paying the cost of court, which was hiked to $136 beginning July 1.
The new system was developed by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC), and payments are processed by a private company called NIC.
Unfortunately, for many in Richmond County, particularly in the northern end of the county, having the option to pay a ticket online won’t mean much.
About 10,000 people who live outside Rockingham or Hamlet city limits only have access to AT&T dial-up Internet service, according to Ellerbe Telephone Company President Herb Long. About 99 percent of his company’s 2,000 customers have access to a DSL connection.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.